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The Surprising Way to Reduce Heart Attack Risk and Early Death


Enjoying the sun

While overexposure to the sun increases the risk of skin cancer, it may have some surprising health benefits. Researchers at the University of Copenhagen suggest it can reduce the risk of heart attacks and early death, lending more credence to the widely accepted belief that sunlight exposure—and the resulting vitamin D production—greatly benefits heart and bone health.

After examining the health records of 4 million people over the age of 40, scientists found that those diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer had a 4 percent reduced risk of suffering a heart attack. Researchers also found this group of people had stronger bones as well as a 50 percent lower risk of premature death.

Based on the results, the authors said that the prevailing advice to avoid sunlight exposure should be questioned. However, they tempered this conclusion by postulating that the health benefits found in sun-worshipers may also stem from the fact that they lead a healthier outdoor lifestyle. The study was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

Medical Community Weighs In

British scientists expressed doubt about the conclusions drawn from the Danish study, asserting that overexposure to sunlight is the main cause of skin cancer. Dr. Claire Knight of Cancer Research UK says that although sunlight exposure is needed for healthy bones, people should limit it to a safe amount and avoid sunburn.

Live in the Now spoke with David Lortscher, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist practicing in San Diego, California, who agreed that sun exposure has many benefits. “I recommend that people continue to protect their face from the sun because that is the part of our body that is almost always over-exposed. A great way to get some extra sun is to go for a run in the park with a hat on but minimal clothing. This way you can wear as little clothing as you like while protecting your face from premature aging and skin cancer,” he said.

Skin Cancer Can Kill

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common malignancy in the U.S., afflicting more than 2 million people each year. Ninety percent of cases are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun. Experts estimate this type of cancer will be responsible for 3,170 deaths in 2013.

Melanoma is a much more deadly cancer and is also associated with sun exposure. Eighty-six percent of cases are linked to UV radiation from the sun. Moreover, those who have had more than five sunburns in their lifetime have a double risk of developing this malignancy.

The bottom line is that although sunlight exposure is needed for strong bones and general health, skin cancer can kill. People should take care to avoid sunburns, which increase their risk of the illness.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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